The exact number of Indians remaining in Afghanistan remains unknown currently, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday, August 27. However, the ministry said that it has evacuated most people who wanted to return.
"We have evacuated over 550 people in 6 separate flights, either from Kabul or Dushanbe. Of these, over 260 were Indians. GoI also facilitated evacuation of Indian nationals through other agencies. We were in touch with various countries, like [the] US,Tajikistan," said Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for MEA, reported Hindustan Times.
'Our Primary Focus Will Be Indian Nationals'
Bagchi added that some Afghan nationals, as well as nationals from other countries, were evacuated. "Of these, many were Sikhs and Hindus. While our primary focus will be Indian nationals, we will also stand by Afghans who stood by us," he added.
The statement comes a day after twin blasts rocked the international airport in Kabul. About 170 people lost their lives in it. On Thursday, August 26, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the government is adopting a "wait-and-watch" approach in dealing with the Taliban.
Bagchi said that Afghan nationals arriving in the country will get a six-month visa initially. After that the government will "take it from there" as making long-term plans have not been the "best of ideas" under the current circumstance, he added.
On Wednesday, August 25, at least 20 Indian nationals and some 140 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus had to be left behind as they were unable to access Kabul airport to board a military evacuation flight, reportedly due to impediments created by the Taliban.
Bagchi added that the situation on the ground is uncertain. He pointed out that currently, there is a lack of clarity or no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul." I think we are jumping the gun here regarding recognition," he added.